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Entries in Senator Patrick Leahy (1)

Saturday
Mar122011

US Investigating Claims that Bahrain Used Force Against Protesters

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. has launched an investigation into reports that Bahrain used force against protesters during the country’s recent uprising.

A letter from the State Department to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says the U.S. is “investigating the actions of the Bahraini police and Ministry of Interior forces and assessing their conduct in connection with the protests.” Based on the findings of the investigation, it will be determined whether U.S. aid could be stopped for units found to have targeted peaceful protesters.

The Bahraini government is reportedly looking into the actions of security forces during the events of Feb. 14-18, a step the U.S. views as a positive one towards finding out if anyone is to be held accountable for the use of excessive force. The letter, written by acting Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Miguel Rodriguez, says there are conflicting reports about the military’s role in response to protests and officials are hoping the facts can soon be established.

The State Department’s letter was in response to an inquiry by Leahy about whether any Bahraini security forces who were trained by the U.S. had attacked protesters or used weapons provided by the U.S. against protesters. Leahy is concerned about possible violations of the Leahy Amendment, which prohibits the U.S. from providing training and aid to military forces who have committed human rights abuse.

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